Nourishment for mama and baby.
It’s an exciting time when you decide to start on the journey of having a baby – whether it’s planned or not! From the moment you find out you’re pregnant, or from when you decided to start trying, your mind will no doubt wander to think about what you need to do to prep for being a mama. Most probably, prenatal vitamins will make their way to the top of your baby-planning checklist, but where can you get them in Hong Kong? Doctors, shops or online stores, read on to find out.
Although it’s an exciting time, it can be quite a steep learning curve when you first start looking into pregnancy, vitamins and diet. According to the Government’s Department of Health Family Help Service, women should consider the following nutritional needs as the body changes during pregnancy:
1st trimester (the first 13 weeks)
Demand for folate, vitamin A and iodine increases.
2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy (weeks 14 to 40)
The requirement for energy and protein increases for the growing baby. Apart from folate, vitamin A and iodine, there is a higher demand for iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, plus a mild increase in calcium requirements.
While breastfeeding, the body needs approximately an extra 500 calories a day; including a sufficient intake of protein, folate, iodine, zinc, vitamin A and DHA, to ensure an adequate level of nutrients in your breastmilk.
This is a very top-level guide as to what you will need to nourish your body prior to conception (for example, it’s recommended that you start taking folic acid at least a month before conception, while some recommend taking a full prenatal vitamin even three months prior!), and not all mamas might be able to take some of the recommended items, so always make sure to consult your doctor before starting to take supplements. Once pregnant, a simple blood test can also highlight any other vitamins that your body might need to accompany a healthy balanced diet (this mama was vitamin D deficient and didn’t even realise!).
It can be tricky to find a good range of prenatal vitamins, but there are some places in the city along with a range of online options that deliver to your door:
Prenatal Vitamins At The Doctor’s surgery
Whether you are going down the public or private route, your antenatal care team should be able to prescribe the prenatal vitamins that you might need:
Antenatal appointments are usually by your district catchment area and are free for Hong Kong ID holders, but you may have to pay for vitamin prescriptions.
while there are numerous options, here are just a few you can choose from:
Note that if you’re using insurance to go private, your package mostly probably won’t cover vitamin supplement prescriptions (even the all-singing, all-dancing ones) so always check with your provider first.
Prenatal Vitamins From Hong Kong stores
Here you’ll find a selection of options from GNC for pregnancy and beyond. The Prenatal Program includes 30 days of everything you might need; prenatal multi-vitamins and minerals, calcium and DHA combined (suitable for prenatal and postnatal use). You can also purchase each separately as well.
So you might opt for a prenatal multivitamin and top it up with DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that helps to grow healthy brains, skin and eyes) if you’d like. You can also get baby DHA drops as a supplement for children aged 6 months or above (there’s even a vegetarian version!).
One other useful item to look out for babies (over the age of 1) is vitamin D3 drops, as they will help your baby continue to absorb calcium after birth, supporting the growth of teeth and bones.
Watsons carries a range of different brands, from the lesser-known local variety to bigger names. If you’re trying to conceive, Blackmores Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Gold capsules have all the essentials for mama and baby including folic acid, calcium, iodine, iron and omega-3 DHA, they also have individual Folic Acid as well.
Another recognised name for prenatal multivitamins is Materna. You can try its 23 Vitamins & Minerals 100 tabs. Or try the Mom Vitamin & Mineral with DHA from Nestle. For a prenatal probiotic, it stocks Elevit Probiotics, ideal to support mama and baby throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
This store has a small selection of prenatal vitamins and prenatal DHA on its website, but it also has stock in the Mong Kok and Causeway Bay stores.
oGreen, Room 1703, 17/F, Omega Plaza, 32 Dundas Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, 2780 1182
Fanda is a great local favourite for health care products, over the counter medicine, prescriptions, vitamins and supplements, perfumes and more. With stores over in TST and Central, ask the helpful staff to point you in the right direction for what you need.
Socking a huge range of supplements and vitamins across the board, you’ll find some regular prenatal products here (similar to Mannings) in the women’s health section.
Prenatal Vitamins Online
For a wider range of prenatal vitamins, the internet is your friend. You can order directly from these sites, which all deliver to Hong Kong:
With so many options to choose from, make sure you do your research before you start taking any prenatal vitamins. Consult your doctor to make sure the supplements won’t cause an issue with existing medication or conditions, and check the product labels to find one with ingredients you’re happy with.